City Needs to Own its Negligence

City Needs to Own its Negligence

Letter writer Claire Coustier (see adjoining commentary) inspired us to put our own opinions into writing regarding the city of Alameda’s lack of attention to the building they own directly across the street from City Hall. 

The Carnegie Library still stands as an icon to philanthropy and education funded by Andrew Carnegie. Currently, it stands like a big filing cabinet for city documents. 

Last week, a homeless person chose to use those city documents to start a fire. We wonder exactly what was destroyed in the process. Whatever was destroyed belonged to the public. Those documents are meant to stand the test of time and preserve our city’s history. In this era of rampant greed and real estate shenanigans, wouldn’t it just be so perfect for the city if that moldering library burned to the ground to make room for more condominiums? 

What kind of city manager can sit in an office day after day and gaze out at the building framed in the window that they have chosen to neglect for more than 15 years. Well plenty. Quite a few city managers and mayors have come and gone and nothing has changed in the future of that building. 

In a city that crows over its Victorian-era architecture, this masterpiece of American history, a Carnegie Library, can continue to rot endlessly for lack of ADA-compliant access. 

The city can cry poor all it wants, but if homeowners neglected their properties in the same way the city does, they’d be fined, redtagged or some other fee would encourage those homeowners to fix up their properties. Not so at City Hall. Staffers need to accept their own negligence in letting this public asset go to waste. 

Wake up, City Hall. Just one small part of your responsibility to taxpayers is to preserve their assets and their documents. That means getting off the dole and actually doing something for this community. 

We are tired of the blight surrounding Alameda’s City Hall. We demand city staff take action regarding the Carnegie Library. Quit making excuses and do something about protecting our city’s history.